Dreadlocks of varying lengths, gentlemen with matted hair in silver and gold chains, and juicy curls in every color from marigolds to jet black were the crowds at Saturday’s 2nd Annual Inglewood Music Festival. I got bobbed inside. Held at 63rd and South Parkway, the festival was organized by the office of 16th Ward Alderman Stephanie Coleman and welcomed Chicago Natives to a safe, family-friendly celebration of intergenerational connection and community investment.
The festival was attended by an estimated 3,000 visitors. Music performers included neo-soul duo Kindred the Family Soul and rappers Katie Got Bunz and Juvenile. Not only was there more people than last year’s event, there were more vendors and plenty of space to welcome all ages.
“Today is going to be a safe day, so the impact will be on family, cohesion, and of course art, music and culture,” Coleman said. We are connecting. Today is resilience.”
Visitors of all ages have found shade under the trees in the middle of South Halstead. Older patrons reclined under hot pink tents from the 16th district.At around 2pm, the wind picked up and a cool breeze blew the festival away.
On the sidewalk near Kennedy King College, families sat on concrete ledges and rows of lawn chairs. People sipped drinks and ate chicken dinners at Harold’s Chicken Food Truck.
“I like how intimate it is because it’s similar to other festivals in Grant Park and other parts of Chicago,” said West Inglewood resident Olivia Weathers. “Festivals like this bring pride to the community.
Haire’s Gulf Shrimp in Chicago sold flaky fried shrimp and provided free water for children. We Shave What You Crave provided ice piles in Styrofoam cups and had customers mix the syrup.
At the Taquizas A Domicilio food truck, tiger blood, green apples, and green raspberry syrup littered the streets facing the soundstage, while frying oil lined the line for visitors.
The Black McDonald Operators Association tent was located near Coleman’s. About $2,500 worth of prepackaged crayons, pencils, pens, and notebooks piled up on the tent’s display stand, ready to go. A spokesperson for BMOA said his package of student care is intended to meet the needs of school-age children who may not have academic ability.
The Kennedy King College parking lot had a children’s section. Long ago, the Englewood Arts Collective (EAC) had its own DJ playing children’s music and an MC selling his tickets to raffle tote bags. Inside the tote was a coloring book, two EAC T-shirts, and a coupon for South loop Chick-Fil-A.
Children and parents wore flowing yellow aprons and created community murals with acrylic paint. There was also a children’s carnival with bungee jumping and an inflatable bouncing tent with obstacles. Medical organizations such as the Cook County Health Department, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the Howard Brown Health Department had stations nearby.
At the front door, Grow Greater Englewood handed out free produce bags, offering fresh food options for patrons who wanted fruit instead of festival food.
“We sourced herbs and vegetables from Sisters in the Village Group, a black woman-led farm on Chicago’s South Side, and purchased grocery bags from our lovely partner, Urban Growers Collective,” says Grow Greater. George Mikel said. Inglewood Farmers Market Manager. “Being here means being connected to the community.”
Classical music such as “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze and “Candy” by Cameo played before Kindred the Family Soul arrived in the late afternoon. The Green Line train to Harlem loomed over center stage as the artists began to play.
As the street lights came on, Katie Got Bandz’s music shook the asphalt near the stage, and the crowd danced in sync. Juvenile was the last guest her performer with the song blaring in the Englewood Square shopping center until sunset.
“Community events are a great place to provide quality entertainment and bring together vendors, voters, dignitaries and everyone else,” said Kindred the Family Soul’s Fatin Dantzler. “Everything interacts with each other. So that’s always a good thing.”
Josh Burrell is a freelance writer.